Grassley ‘incensed’ by Sessions criticism of proposed sentencing reform legislation

Grassley ‘incensed’ by Sessions criticism of proposed sentencing reform legislation
© Greg Nash

Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyGrassley to hold drug pricing hearing Overnight Health Care: HHS chief refuses to testify on family separations | Grassley to test GOP on lowering drug prices | PhRMA spends record on lobbying in 2018 Congress should stop tariff power grab, bring balance to US trade policy MORE (R-Iowa) on Wednesday torched Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsNadler sends Whitaker questions on possible contacts with Trump over Mueller probe Graham angers Dems by digging into Clinton, Obama controversies Martin, Bobby and the will to change MORE for his “attempt to undermine” a bipartisan drug sentencing reform bill. 

“Incensed by Sessions letter An attempt to undermine Grassley/Durbin/Lee BIPARTISAN criminal justice reforms This bill deserves thoughtful consideration b4 my cmte. AGs execute laws CONGRESS WRITES THEM!” Grassley tweeted.

In a letter sent to Grassley on Wednesday, Sessions wrote that legislation proposed by Grassley and Senate Democratic Whip Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinGrassley to hold drug pricing hearing Graham angers Dems by digging into Clinton, Obama controversies Blagojevich's wife 'speechless' that officer's sentence less than half of husband's MORE (Ill.) would be a “grave error” and urged the Senate to reconsider the bill.

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The attorney general said the bill weakens the punishments for criminals and risks allowing the “very worst criminals” back into society by allowing judges to retroactively reduce sentences.

The legislation, reintroduced last year after previously failing in the Senate, would reduce mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent offenders and end the mandatory three strikes rule that calls for repeat offenders to be sentenced to life in prison.

Sen. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeHillicon Valley: Trump AG pick signals new scrutiny on tech giants | Wireless providers in new privacy storm | SEC brings charges in agency hack | Facebook to invest 0M in local news AG pick Barr wants closer scrutiny of Silicon Valley 'behemoths' Grassroots political participation is under attack in Utah and GOP is fighting back MORE (R-Utah) has also indicated support.

Grassley says the legislation would allow "nonviolent offenders with minimal criminal histories a better chance to become productive members of society."

Sessions, who has staked out his attorney general legacy as being tough on crime, argued the bill makes it easier for "serious drug traffickers" to re-enter society.

“The bill weakens penalties for repeat, serious drug traffickers, including those who used a gun and those with significant criminal histories, and would reduce the sentences of and potentially allow for the early release of many dangerous felons in prison now, including heroin traffickers, firearms felons, and those who are members of violent drug cartels and gangs like MS-13,” Session wrote.

“Passing this legislation to further reduce sentences for drug traffickers in the midst of the worst drug crisis in our nation’s history would make it more difficult to achieve our goals and have potentially dire consequences,” he said.